STORY: Giorgia Meloni doesn’t want to be stopped on her way to the top. The head of the post-fascist Fratelli d’Italia party hopes to become Italy’s first female prime minister. In Sunday’s general election, she is running with a right-wing bloc that includes former Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi’s Forza Italia and ex-Interior Minister Matteo Salvini’s Lega. The alliance has apparently struck a chord with many Italians. Although surveys shortly before the elections are banned in Italy, at the time the polls stopped on September 10, most pollsters saw the “Italian brothers” ahead with around 24 percent. The entire right block was seen at about 46 percent. The old government – a broad alliance under former ECB President Mario Draghi – collapsed in July after internal squabbling. Now the Italians have to return to the polls early. “We could get a more nationalist and protectionist government,” says political scientist Lorenzo Castellani. “In terms of international relations, she would probably, by and large, stick to the line of the Draghi government, so big support for Ukraine in foreign policy and also an active role against Chinese investments, but in domestic policy, of course, there could be minor changes and also in the EU’s relations with Italy.” A few days before the election, citizens in Rome were more concerned with everyday problems than with foreign policy. “We must avoid corruption, theft and speculation. I want someone to solve the problems of my city, which has become uninhabitable.” “The current problem to solve is the price of energy, so a solution must be found for businesses and families.” Meanwhile, the prospects for the right block may have clouded over a bit. Shortly before the election, seven pollsters polled by Reuters see the 5-Star Movement of former Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte and the center-left camp around top candidate Enrico Letta on the rise. However, they also appreciate that the split between the 5 stars and Letta’s PD is reducing the chances of both parties. A third of the parliamentary seats in Italy are allocated according to the first-past-the-post system. According to estimates, these seats should go almost entirely to the united rights.